As daylight saving time comes to a close, Bowdoin students are adjusting to the realities of 4 p.m. sunsets and fast-approaching winter gusts. As heavy coats become necessities and daylight becomes increasingly scarce, it is important to find ways to support each other as we enter darker, colder days. Winter can be exciting for some but daunting for others, and although many of us love a winter wonderland, it’s also not uncommon to spend the entire winter begging for spring. It’s natural to feel lost as the seasons change, but no one has to feel alone in it.
While some come to Bowdoin overly prepared and ready to brace the cold weather, others who may have never previously experienced a New England winter might not even know where to begin. Bowdoin students come to Maine from 48 U.S. states and about 53 countries, and many students may well have never seen a day of snow. With the diverse community comes divides that leave New England students better equipped to deal with the weather—they can count on family for easy access to resources, like having winter items delivered by parents or easily driving home to pick up those items.
Quality coats and boots often come at price tags that are not affordable and thus can create gaps where affluent students are better prepared for the winter. For low-income students, Bowdoin offers assistance purchasing winter equipment. The College offers up to $350 in funds for winter coats and boots under the Supplemental and Emergency Funding through the Office of the Dean of Students. For those who have figured out ways to manage these circumstances, be generous enough to share with those who are still shaky on their feet. For example, here are a few tips and tricks that work for us:
Layers, a winter coat and boots are staples that are key to staying warm during the Maine winter. Gloves, scarves, beanies and wool socks are underappreciated must-haves.
If you’re feeling antsy, go outside. Even if it’s just a five minute walk around HL, allow the coldness to be a pause from your Sunday night study sessions. It is tempting to flee indoors as the temperatures drop, but being outside can still be a source of renewal as we find ourselves increasingly exposed to heated rooms and artificial lighting.
Even students who are familiar with Maine winters can find the harsh conditions difficult. Experience doesn’t always mean ease. The biting cold and lingering darkness can take a toll on anyone. Although this winter might be warmer than average, no student should treat the weather lightly. Being away from home, too, will take an extra toll—traditions and rituals from back home will likely look different on campus, if they happen at all—and the cold winter months can be as isolating as they can be beautiful. Regardless of how familiar you are with the cold, it’s important to take extra care of yourself and your classmates this winter season.
Beyond bundling up and seeking sunlight, the shorter days require more attention to yourself and those around you. In the coming weeks, it is okay if your answer to “how are you” takes a few more seconds to figure out. Allow these feelings to unite you with your peers. For those for whom shoveling and bundling up is second nature, reach out to your friends to lend some expertise, a hug or a warm hat. And for those for whom the short days and slippery paths are new, we promise it gets better, and even fun!
This editorial represents the majority view of the Editorial Board, which is composed of Catalina Escobedo, Nikki Harris, Jaida Hodge-Adams, Charles Jiang, Juliana Vandermark, Tianyi Xu, Halina Bennet and Seamus Frey.